The results are in, and after factoring in data from the most lists ever compiled for DoggieNames.com’s annual worldwide top 10, Bella is once again the most popular dog name in English-speaking countries across the globe, with Max coming in No. 1 for male canines for the second year in a row. As a result of this year’s rankings from DoggieNames.com and elsewhere, Bella has now occupied the top spot for a full decade.
Since the fervor over the Twilight books and movies has faded, Bella — the name of that series’ main character — was expected to slide lower down the list, with Ella from the popular Disney franchise Frozen perhaps taking her place. But that hasn’t happened. After analyzing more than a dozen national lists from the U.S., the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, plus pet-name popularity rankings for more than 50 municipalities and counties in the U.S. and Canada, the results were very clear: Bella still rules supreme. In fact, Bella tops the most recent database result from Dogster’s community of more than 500,000 engaged pet parents, as well as those of popular apps like Nextdoor and Kuddly, not to mention the lists from more than 40 cities worldwide.
As someone who created and maintains a database of thousands of dog names and who’s immersed in the topic on a daily basis, I admit I found this result rather disappointing. I mean, for the love of Mike — and Molly and Penny and Lola — could we please put a moratorium on the name Bella? It’s a beautiful name to be sure — it actually means “beautiful” in Italian — but there are so many wonderful, creative names out there. Plus, just think how we’d be cutting down the confusion for vets, groomers, and other caregivers who have to interact with all these Bellas and Maxes.
What’s in a name?
Before the reveal of the rest of our world’s most popular dog names list for 2016, I’d like to share some strategies that might unleash some more options when it comes to naming your new canine companion (one that you’ve hopefully brought home from a rescue or shelter). Veterinarians and trainers recommend choosing a dog name that starts with a hard consonant and ending with a vowel sound, one that’s easy to say and easy for dogs to understand.
“When picking a name for your pet, remember that dog names are often used as commands to get their attention,” says Lucy O’Byrne, DVM, CVA, and the co-founder and CVO of Kuddly, an app that lets pet parents connect with qualified veterinarians worldwide through live texting and email. “Ideally, you’ll want to pick a name that is easy to remember and pronounce, both for you and anyone who may be caring for your pet regularly. The tone of your voice is important, too,” says O’Byrne.
Even if your shelter dog already comes with a name, it’s easy enough to change through repetition. We recommend making the name personal to you and your family. Start with a list of favorites — bands, movies, TV shows, books, sports heroes, vacation spots, even foods, and then search those categories in the DoggieNames database to shake some ideas loose. You can also choose a name based on appearance. We like Teensy or Peanut for a giant dog and Spike or Cujo for a little one — or vice versa, of course. And Star Wars fans may want to look to the new movie for name ideas — I offer suggestions in my recent story, “Name Your Dog After a Character in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
That said, there’s not much wrong with sticking with a classic — my own dogs are named Daisy and Buddy, and they fit them perfectly. So without further ado, here are the World’s Most Popular Dog Names for 2015-2016.
Most popular female dog names
Most popular male dog names
This year’s list adds Poppy, Sophie, and Chloe, while Coco, Roxy, and Princess have dropped in popularity since 2014-15.
The male names have pretty much stayed the same, with Bear replacing Lucky.
Regional trends revealing
Even though these are the most widely used monikers worldwide, there are some fun regional trends we found. Dixie makes the top 10, appropriately enough, in both New Orleans and Birmingham, and Pepper is popular in New Mexico. We’re happy to note that Wrigley made the cut in Chicago, and Sierra is one of the most popular names in Reno, Nevada. Boomer is popular in Oklahoma, and in ever-trendy New York, Gizmo and Princess make the cut.
Poppy made our list due to its major popularity throughout the U.K., New Zealand, and Australia. It actually beat out Bella for the top spot in a couple of cases. Our friends across the pond and Down Under have some pretty cute names that we can only hope unseat Bella and Max someday. Among them are Oscar, Oliver/Ollie, Archie, Barney, Dexter, and Milo for boys, and Millie, Ruby, Roxy, and Tilly for girls.
Roxy and Ruby are actually bubbling under the top 10 in the U.S. too, as are Oliver and Oscar, as well as Bentley, Abby, Penny, Zoe, and Teddy.
Oh, in case you were wondering, Bella and Max are also the top cat names, according to Nationwide Insurance, which pulled data from more than 550,000 of their insured pets.
Read more about dog names:
- Name Your Dog After a Character in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
- The Top 10 St. Patrick’s Day Dog Names
- What Are the Most Popular Dog Names on Dogster?
About the author: Atlanta’s own Toni Perling writes mostly about dogs — hence her blogger name, Doggienista, and her two beautiful rescues, Daisy Jo and Bud Earl. She tweets for them at DaisyJoBudEarl and covers all the latest Hollywood dog scoop at her Celebrity Dog Blog. She’s also a longtime supporter of spay/neuter/rescue, and adopted her first dog, a sweet lovable mutt named Sophie, from an L.A. County shelter. Toni started out in Hollywood as a TV writer, with credits ranging from network drama to informational, including a boatload of episodes of a little Discovery Networks show named I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant, before transitioning to the Web.